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Fashion indies hit hard as UK sales dive

More than half of the UK’s independent retailers are worried about the year ahead, after sales at fashion indies fell below the national average.

Sales at clothing and footwear indies fell 4.69% from April to June, according to the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), whereas sales across all indies dropped 2.1%. Of the UK’s indie retailers, 52.87% told Bira they felt anxious about the year ahead.

Bira deputy chief executive and communications director Michael Weedon said consumers were more likely to be “deterred” from buying clothes than other goods.

“It’s a very competitive market with many players, lots of discounting in lots of Sales,” he said. “And it’s been raining, so some of those sunny-day purchases will have been put off.”

General retail saw Scotland report the steepest decline, with sales tumbling 11.17%. East Anglia followed with a sales drop of 4.91% and the Midlands with a 4.4% decrease. Only indies in the Southeast, Northwest and Northern Ireland recorded increases.

Daniel Le Sauvage, owner of Ipswich young fashion indie Urban Vintage, said: “The weather has played a hell of a part in lowering footfall.” Like many others, he had to hold a 50%-off Sale to bring in shoppers. “We are clawing it back now but it has been touch and go.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • in my opinion,these figures are on the positive side,I know many fashion indies,premium retaillers and classic businesses who are more likely to be 20% down on this most tough of seasons

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  • inless you are a high end indie, you are fighting with department stores who continue to put lables into sale earlier and earlier. Mid market indies have to keep interest with usp in other ways - unfortuantely it is getting more difficult to come up with ideas - loyalty cards, promotional evenings all take their toll

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  • Excessive discounting is not the answer as it reduces margin to unsustainable levels and can make the store look desperate in the eyes of the consumer. Having the right product, at the right price with high quality customer service will always beat any big reductions - period.

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